The Airship ROMA Disaster in Hampton Roads

The Airship ROMA Disaster in Hampton Roads

by Nancy E. Sheppard


View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for delivery by Friday, May 14


In March 1921, Major John G. Thornell and his crew were detailed to Italy to procure a new experimental airship for the United States Army Air Service. Stationed at Langley Field in Hampton, the ROMA never lived up to expectations despite being heralded as the future of military innovation. Tragically, it crashed and erupted in a ball of fire in 1922, claiming the lives of thirty-four of the brave men aboard. Author Nancy E. Sheppard reveals the forgotten, harrowing story of one of the last great airships and those who sacrificed for the promise of a new era in aviation.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781467119207
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing SC
Publication date: 01/25/2016
Series: Disaster
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 1,262,411
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Nancy E. Sheppard is a writer and historian of her native Hampton Roads, Virginia. She received her education in history from American Military University and Old Dominion University. Over the past four years she has been devoted to discovering and telling the story of the U.S. Army Air Service dirigible ROMA and her crew. Aside from her research and writing, Sheppard is a tireless advocate for the awareness of Autism Spectrum Disorders and special needs family members in the military community.

Table of Contents

Introduction 9

1 The Perfect Day to Fly 11

2 The Great Airship ROMA 21

3 ROMA and Hampton Roads 29

4 Assembling ROMA and the Crash of ZR-2 38

5 The First Flight 52

6 Christening at Boiling Field 64

7 New Engines and "'The Graveyard Club" 77

8 February 21, 1922 89

9 Across the River 94

10 The Fall 100

11 The Conflagration 105

12 The Survivors 110

13 Thirty-Four Lost Souls 116

14 The Death Roll 122

15 The Investigation 127

16 The Memorial 134

17 The Burial 142

18 Eaton Rapids, Michigan 147

Epilogue 149

Appendix: Why did ROMA Crash? 155

Acknowledgements 159

Notes 161

Bibliography 179

Index 187

About the Author 192

Customer Reviews